Summary: Sometimes the violence needs releasing

As always, many thanks to betas Mirth and Jay, who bully, badger, praise and ego stroke

WARNINGS: Mention of child abuse (implied not graphic), Eliot's potty mouth


Eliot took a deep breath, letting it out slowly, desperately trying to hold onto his control. He was close to the edge, the violence spiralling inside him like a demon, taunting him, pushing him, trying to tear itself loose. Eliot knew he had to let it out, knew it had to be now while he still had a chance to control its release.

The punch bag at the gym hadn't worked. He had punched and kicked at the bag for hours, leaving himself sore and bruised, his body ready to collapse with exhaustion. But the violence within still tried to fight its way out.

He left the city, leaving a bewildered team behind him. They sensed something was wrong, had tried to help and that had made it so much worse. No one had cared before, no one giving a damn when Eliot Spencer fought his demons. He hadn't known how to let them help him, was afraid they would see too much, would glimpse inside him and see his soul wrapped in a never ending torrent of violence, black and menacing, the kind that lead to an eternity in Hell.

So he had fled, terrified that he would hurt them, that an innocent touch, a pat on the back, a squeeze of his knee, a poke in the arm, would have him lashing out at them and he had enough horror to carry around, enough for a thousand lifetimes, all of his own making. He couldn't bear to add hurting them to his list of deeds that he would never find redemption for.

He had told them he was going away for a few days; he told himself that he wasn't running.

He took another breath, letting it out slowly again, feeling more centred, more in control. He grinned at the group of men in front of him, ghoul like in the weak light of an ancient streetlight, the only one still working in the narrow alley. He raised a hand, beckoning them forward, taunting them. They didn't disappoint. He gave the violence its freedom.

He punched and spun and kicked and blocked. Taking their hits and returning them ten-fold. He let the anguish and horror of the last job out, letting it mingle with the unleashed violence. He didn't see the faces of those he fought, but the face of the fat fuck who thought he was safe in his ivory tower, respected businessman by day, filthy child pornographer at night. The frustration of the job had grown like a malignant tumour. And Eliot was haunted by the images of the children, trapped in a world of abuse and suffering. There was little for him to do, except watch over Hardison's shoulder as he untangled the leads that would bring the fucker down.

Hardison had connected all the dots, Sophie and Nate had backed the slimy mother fucker into a corner and Parker had raided his safe, leaving Eliot with nothing. His heart had ached for the kids and he had felt useless, he itched to beat the fucker, to cut the bastards balls off and choke him to death with them.

And the violence within him had grown until it nearly consumed him.

He swayed as the last man fell, exhausted, bruised and bleeding and he felt better than he had for weeks. The violence back where it belonged, inside, under control.

"Eliot?"

He spun, ready to strike, only to find his team stood before him. Hardison speaking quietly on his cell, as the others stepped towards him.

"Time to head home," Nate stated, looking directly at Eliot, holding his gaze. Eliot turned away first, to look at the bodies behind him. He knew they weren't dead, but they would be in a world of pain for weeks. He turned back to look at Nate and found nothing but understanding in his gaze. He looked at Parker and Sophie in turn; they took it as permission to move closer, to touch, or in Parker's case, to poke.

"Police and ambulance on their way. We best hit the road," Hardison said, as he moved to stand beside Nate, "although I bet they would like to shake the hand of the guy who just took out..." Hardison paused as he counted the unconscious men "... six drug dealers."

"Let's not chance it," Nate said as he walked towards Eliot, gently pushing Parker out of the way, so he could lift Eliot's arm over his shoulder, Sophie copying the movement.

"I can walk," Eliot growled out, but made no attempt to free himself, unbalanced by their appearance, by their casual acceptance.

"Yeah, know you can man. But sometimes, it's cool to accept some help," Hardison threw over his shoulder as he led the way out of the alley.

Nate leaned in closer so only Eliot could hear. "We're more than a team now, Eliot. Good or bad, we'll have your back. You got to learn to accept that."

Eliot gave a short nod of acknowledgment. He didn't tell Nate that he could never do that but maybe he could learn that he was accepted for who and what he was, even though it was far more than he ever deserved.